BY GRACE ALONE (PART 30)
“Upon election, being called ‘the election of grace’ (see Rom. 11:5), the apostle forms an argument, showing the contrariety and inconsistency of grace, and works, in that affair; proving, that it must be by the one or the other: and if by the one, then not by the other; and that these two cannot be mixed and blended together in this matter. If election is ‘by grace’, as it certainly is; for no other reason can be given why God has chosen one, and not another, but His own Sovereign pleasure, or that free favour and unmerited love, with which He loves one and not another; and not because they are better, or had done or would do better things than others; ‘then is it no more’, or not at all, for it never was ‘of works’, was not influenced by them, does not arise from them, for it passed before ever any were done; and those that are done aright spring from it, and therefore could never be the rule and measure, causes, motives, and conditions of it; otherwise grace is no more grace; for `grace is not grace, unless it is altogether freed’; grace will lose its nature, and ought to change its name, and be no more called or reckoned grace, but a due debt; and a choice of persons to salvation should be thought, not to be what God is free to make or not, but what He is obliged to, as a reward of debt to men's works: but if it be of works, then is it no more grace; if election springs from, and depends upon the works of men, let no man ascribe it to the grace of God; for there is nothing of grace in it, if this be the case: otherwise work is no more work; that will free gift: but these things are contrary to one another; and so unalienable and unalterable in their natures, that the one cannot pass into the other, or the one be joined with the other, in this or any other part of man's salvation; for what is here said of election, holds true of justification, pardon of sin, and the whole of salvation.” To try and combine grace and works is like mixing two distinct colors. One always ends up with a completely different color while the two original colors completely lose their identity.
A salvation conditioned on man leaves no room for grace, but only that which it has been made dependent. “…if it be of works, then is it no more grace…” (Rom. 11:6). You cannot have grace if you believe in works as a means to salvation. Salvation proceeds not from an act of man, but from the grace of God. Salvation is produced by grace not works. Salvation is a gift by grace not a reward for works. “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Rom. 5:15). The Righteousness which saves is a gift from God. It is produced by the Lord Jesus Christ, and no other. “…by the obedience of one shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). That means your righteousness will NOT save you. Your acts of obedience will NOT save you. Grace does not need your help, “For by GRACE are ye saved…And if by grace, then is it no more of works…” (Eph. 2:8 & Rom. 11:6). Grace does not need your assistance, for “…the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). How can any reasonable person possibly look to what they do, and expect to be saved when Scripture clearly states that “…all have sinned…” (Rom. 3:23). All are sinners in need of salvation. “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20). Salvation can only come from an outside source, for every man and his works have all “…come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Two powerhouse verses one would do well to never forget that have to do with man and his works, the wages of sin and the gift of salvation, are Romans 3:23 & Romans 6:23. As with those of Judah, who trusted in their righteousness, their works, “…they shall not profit thee” (Isa. 57:12). To cancel out grace by conditioning salvation on what a man must do is something which the apostle Paul clearly did not subscribe to: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). In other words, why would Christ Jesus have come to the earth to establish the only Righteousness acceptable to God, if men could be saved by their own righteousness which God compares to “filthy rags” (see Isa. 64:6). The Righteousness which saves comes only by grace, it is a gift given by God to all His people. Righteousness cannot come by a man’s obedience to the law, for this would nullify grace. It would take grace completely out of the picture. Righteousness cannot come by a man’s obedience to the law, for this would nullify the Righteousness of Christ, and make His death a vain thing.
Those who have been fed the monstrous lie of salvation by grace and works have accepted a poisoned meal which will do them absolutely no good. “…they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…” (Hos. 8:7). The Gospel is grace, not works. The Gospel is Jesus Christ, not you. The Righteousness that saves is someone else’s Righteousness which is charged to the account of all whom God has chosen from before the foundation of the world. The righteousness of a man at his best can only get him as far as Hell. The only Righteousness that saves is Christ’s Righteousness, the Righteousness which is without YOUR works! As eternal life is a gift, so too, is the means to it. The wages of sin, indeed, the wages of every work done in an effort to make oneself righteous before God is eternal death (see Matt. 7:23). Eternal life is a gift and it only comes by way of the gift of grace. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). This Scripture is saying the same as Ephesians 2:8,9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” No one is saved by works, no one is saved by anything they have earned. No one is saved by a wage. God does not save that way. God saves by a gift, His gift, and that gift is called grace and it is the only means to a man’s salvation. Eternal life is the gift of God, not the wages of works. Salvation is not by what a man does, but only by what he is given. How could a gift possibly be earned? How could someone ever be rewarded with a gift? If a reward then a wage. If a gift, then it is purely by grace. A reward is for what has been done. A gift is free. A reward is a debt paid. A gift can only be freely given.
Attempting to merge works with grace, what a man does with what God has done, is nothing but a work of the flesh. It is something which is only in accord with the carnal mind of man, and not at all with the Word of God. Something cannot simultaneously be a wage paid and a gift given. Grace alone creates a new man in Christ. Grace alone saves. When the works of men can create a new creature in Christ, then will salvation be by works. But, don’t hold your breath. Salvation is not about a man doing, but about God MIRACULOUSLY saving. Salvation is not about man willing, or a willing man, but it concerns the will of God—His willingness to save. The saved are “…born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:13). To be born again is to be born of the will of Almighty God. Man’s sin problem cannot be solved by doing anything, for man is, by his very nature, without hope—hopeless. He is without God, he is without Christ. Man’s sinful state has him in a situation where salvation is impossible by anything he does. The apostle Paul was saying in Galatians 2:21 that if right standing with God comes by what a man does, if it is dependent upon his obedience to the law, then the grace of God is frustrated, and Christ has died in vain. This clearly teaches how grace and works could never be partners in salvation, for one eliminates the very need of the other. To believe that salvation is the result of what you do, cannot include grace, for works nullify grace. The only Righteousness which saves is Christ’s Righteousness, and it only comes by grace. Any requirement for works would cancel out the need for grace, however, the fact that a man is saved by grace through faith not works shows clearly that it is the grace of God that nullifies ANY need for ANY works. The original Greek for the word frustrate, has ‘unplacing’ grace, or ‘repudiating’ grace. Works do not compliment grace, but are a repudiation of grace. The word frustrate in Galatians 2 means: “To do away with; to set aside, to disesteem, to neutralize, violate or disregard; to thwart the efficacy of; to nullify, to make void, to render null, to reject, to refuse, to slight; to cast off, despise, disannul, to bring to nought, to displace, to abrogate, abolish, get rid of, and, to act towards anything as though it were annulled, to deprive a law of its force by opinions or acts contrary to it”. Works are contrary to grace. The one cancels out the other. Paul was saying that if right standing with God comes by what a man does—if any obedient act on the part of man must precede salvation—then the grace of God is done away with; it is set aside; grace is disesteemed and neutralized, and cannot, therefore, be appealed to.
If you are looking to, or trusting in, any work which you have done, then you cannot be trusting in the grace of God to save you. To trust in grace is to trust in grace alone, for anything added to it disannuls it. When you are looking to any of your works, you are not looking to God and His grace. You have made salvation dependent upon what you do, and not what God alone has done. Salvation would then not be by grace, for God would be obligated to save according to a man’s works. Not only would death come as a wage, but so would eternal life. How could salvation under such circumstances be a free gift? God does not save according to a man’s works, but solely according to His will and grace. Emphasizing his point, the apostle later declared: “…if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing…Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:2,4). Even if a man claimed to believe the Gospel of Jesus, and yet felt the need to be circumcised to, in some way, secure his salvation, then that man disqualifies himself from grace, and the Righteousness of Christ will profit that man absolutely nothing. You cannot operate on the basis of your obedience being indispensable to salvation, whilst claiming to trust in the Obedience of Christ alone. You cannot depend on your obedience at all, if you claim to trust in Christ’s obedience as the very foundation of all salvation. You can only appear before God on that Day with either the Righteousness of Christ, or your own righteousness. Any appeal to works, any reliance upon what you feel you must do before salvation to get saved, or after salvation to remain saved, and Christ shall profit you absolutely nothing. Who Christ the Saviour is and what He has done is of no effect unto those who condition any part of salvation on themselves. Grace and works are two very distinct modes of salvation. One works, and the other does not! “…by grace ye are saved, means nothing else can save. The most significant difference between grace and works is that the grace of God saves, and the works of men merely serve to condemn. Salvation is solely by the Righteousness of Jesus Christ. True Christians rest in the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus, while the unsaved are busy looking to their own obedience as the way to eternal life. God saves only by grace, therefore, the works, or obedience of man can never save, nor are they necessary to anyone’s election or salvation. God saves His people by His grace through only ONE MAN’S OBEDIENCE, and that man is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ’s Righteousness alone saves, therefore, any appeal to one’s own righteousness is a full repudiation of Christ’s Righteousness. The Righteousness of Christ is a perfect Righteousness which requires no supplementation by any work of man. Any work of man’s added to what Christ has done immediately disqualifies any legitimate appeal to it. Christ’s perfect Righteousness comes only by grace, a man’s imperfect righteousness is by works. Now, whose/Whose righteousness/Righteousness are you going to approach God with? Your own righteousness which comes from your own obedience, or the Righteousness of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ which comes only by grace? “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). Only lost men can come away from reading these verses thinking that salvation cannot occur without their attempts at obedience. By the gift of grace is a man saved, not by what a man does, but by what God gives. Each individual child of God is saved by a Righteousness which is given to them. A man is saved by what is given to him, not by what he has worked for. Paul the apostle prayed for the salvation, he did not thank God for the ‘salvation’, of the nation of Israel. He based their lostness on the fact that rather than praise God for His Righteousness, they busied themselves in attempting to establish a righteousness of their own, thinking that if they lived well enough, if they obeyed good enough, God would accept them based on their obedience and no other’s. They did not know the Saviour so how could they have been saved by the Saviour. The fact they did not know the Saviour, that they did not trust in God’s only Way of salvation, is why they sought salvation by their own righteousness. Their hope was in their righteousness, so how could they have had the faith which God gives to His people that trusts solely in HIS Righteousness. How can anyone say the Saviour has saved them whilst relying on their own righteousness? How can anyone claim the saving grace of God in their lives when they look to what they do, to a condition they believe they must meet, before God can save them! This is what all lost people do, for they are naturally ignorant of the Righteousness of God. Israel, as are all men by nature, was ignorant of the fact that it is only God’s Righteousness given as a gift by grace that saves. A man is saved by that which he cannot work for. A man’s righteousness only further condemns him to Hell. Because Israel sought for righteousness by their own works, rather than the Perfect, Holy and only Righteousness that saves: the Righteousness of God, Paul declared them lost, stating: “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's Righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for Righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:1-4). If your zeal of God is not according to knowledge, you are not saved; if you are ignorant of God’s Righteousness, you are not saved; if you go about trying to establish your own righteousness, you are not saved; if you have not submitted yourself unto the Righteousness of God, you are not saved; if you do not believe that Christ is the end of the law for Righteousness, you are not saved. As long as you continue to base your salvation on your works, as long as you continue to make salvation dependent upon what you do, you are trying to establish a righteousness of your own, and remain dead in sins. By personal acts of obedience a man is trying to establish a righteousness that cannot save him. The tragedy of sinful, cursed, man is that not only is he dead in sins, but that he strives to meet with God’s approval by that which can never save him. The true picture of hopelessness is defined by a man trying to establish a righteousness of his own. Such a person is not submitted unto the Righteousness of Christ, and if not the Righteousness of Christ, then not the grace of God.
Only what Christ has done saves His people from their sins. What man does in any of his vain attempts to get saved or ‘stay saved’ only serves to confirm his state of accursedness. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” (Gal. 3:10,11). That faith is not of themselves, but is a gift given by grace to all the elect. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1,2); “…HE is our peace…” (Eph. 2:14). The Christian says ‘Thank you Lord for saving me through the Saviour Jesus; Thank you for saving me not through what I have done, but only because of Him’. The brightest spotlight should not be focussed on the fact that God has saved a wretch like me, but ‘Thank You God for Your Son, thank You for saving me by Him, thank You for the Beauty of Him. The glorious God saved me. Thank You for the goodness and beauty and the glory and the grace and the mercy and the will and the love and the purpose of God that saved me’. Yes, I am a wretch, but the focus should not be on how sinful I have been, but on how stupendously glorious and good and gracious and merciful and magnificent God is. The Gospel story is all about God, not us. To focus on God is to focus on grace. ‘Amazing grace’ is not sung in Heaven, for salvation is all about God, not wretches like us. Salvation is not about God’s people, it’s about God. Period! The only mention of the saved in Heaven is in the context of what God has done for them. Thanking God for saving a ‘wretch like me’ is fine, but it always seems to turn my thoughts back onto me and how bad I’ve been, rather than keeping my mind on God and how good and gracious He is. You cannot get to grace by works. Access is only through the God-given “…faith of the Gospel” (Phil. 1:27). Salvation is by grace through faith, not works. To those who insist their obedience plays an essential role in their salvation, “Christ is become of NO effect unto you”, “Or ‘ye are abolished from Christ’; or as others by an ‘hypallage read the words, ‘Christ is abolished unto you’; for by their seeking for justification by their own works, it was all one to them as if there was no Christ, and no Righteousness in Him, and no salvation by Him”. Such people have no claims on the Saviour, in fact, they have disqualified themselves, for in attempting to establish their own righteousness, they have forfeited any ‘right’ to appeal to the Righteousness of the Saviour. To follow Christ is to abandon yourself. It is to abandon your righteousness for His. As one cannot appeal to grace and works, one can only turn to and trust in one’s own righteousness, or the Righteousness of Christ.
The following passage of Scripture provides a crystal clear indication of just whose righteousness a man is saved by: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). “…there can be no justification before God by the law, since it stops the mouths of men, and pronounces them guilty: by ‘the deeds of the law’ are meant, works done in obedience to it, as performed by sinful men, which are very imperfect…now by such works as these whether wrought before or after conversion, with or without the strength and grace of Christ, no man can be justified.” No one is saved by what they do. Man’s attempted obedience gains him nothing. Unless the works a man is performing are perfect, the law which he is trying to obey can only condemn him. Works are the way of death. Grace is the Way of life. “But now the Righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the Righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:21-23). “The apostle having proved that all men are unrighteous, and that no man can be justified in the sight of God by his obedience, either to the law of nature or of Moses, proceeds to give an account of that Righteousness, which does justify before God; and so returns to his former subject, (see Rom. 1:17), concerning ‘the Righteousness of God’, the revelation of which he makes to be peculiar to the Gospel, as he does here;… either that this Righteousness is without the law, and the deeds of it, as performed by sinful men; or that the manifestation of it is without the law, either of nature or of Moses; for the law discovers sin, but not a Righteousness which justifies from sin; it shows what Righteousness is, but does not direct the sinner where there is one to be had, that will make him Righteous in the sight of God: this is made known without the law, and only in the Gospel.” It is not the righteousness of men which saves, but only the Righteousness of God. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His Righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Rom. 3:24-27). Believing is not a work of obedience to the law, for it excludes all boasting in that it is by the gift of faith by grace alone.
A man is not justified by works, but freely by the grace of God through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus by His Righteousness. “And by Him (Jesus) all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39). Christ is the Saviour. It is Christ’s Righteousness, alone; it is Christ’s obedience, alone, which saves a man, and not the man’s obedience at all. Only grace saves, the law cannot. “Christ, as God, is not only the justifier of His people, Who pronounces them Righteous in the sight of God; but His Righteousness imputed to them is the matter of their justification, or that by which they are justified; and not the works of the law, or obedience to the Gospel, or internal holiness, either in whole or in part, or the grace of faith, but the object of it, Christ, and His Righteousness: and justification by this is complete and perfect; it is from all sin, original and actual, secret and open, greater or lesser sins; sins of presumption and ignorance, of omission or commission; from all things the law can charge with, as breaches of it; from all things which the justice of God can demand satisfaction for; and from all things that Satan, or a man's own conscience, can justly accuse him of. And those that believe in Christ with the heart unto righteousness, are openly and manifestly justified in their own consciences, and can claim their interest in it, and have the comfort of it, as well as they were before secretly justified in the mind of God, and in their Head and Representative Jesus Christ. And from all sin these are justified of God, ‘for it is God that justifies’, (see Rom. 8:33) against Whom men have sinned, and Whose law they have violated, and Whose justice they have affronted, by reason of which they are liable to condemnation; but God justifies them, by imputing the Righteousness of His Son to them, in which He views them as without fault, unblameable and irreprovable; and though all men are not justified, yet many are; all the elect of God, everyone that believes in Christ, as all do who are ordained to eternal life; Christ's Righteousness is imputed and applied to all these, and therefore they shall never enter into condemnation, but shall be acquitted and discharged from all things. ‘ye could not be justified by the law of Moses’; that is, by the works of the law, or by obedience to it, because such obedience is imperfect; and therefore the law cannot justify, discharge, and acquit upon it, but instead thereof, must curse and condemn; as it does everyone, that does not do all things commanded in the law, and in the manner that requires (see Gal. 3:10); besides, if Righteousness was hereby, the grace of God in justification would be frustrated, the death of Christ would be rendered null and void, and boasting would not be excluded; all which are contrary to the scheme of the Gospel. It may be observed, that pardon of sin and justification are two distinct blessings, or the apostle must be guilty of a great tautology; since having spoken of forgiveness of sin in the preceding verse, he speaks of justification in this, as another blessing enjoyed by and through Christ, and published in the Gospel, styled therefore the word and ministration of righteousness. And indeed they are distinct; in pardon the man is considered as a sinner, in justification as a righteous man; pardon takes away his sin, justification gives him a Righteousness; pardon frees from punishment, but justification besides that gives him a title to eternal life; to pardon, the blood of Christ is sufficient; but to justification are required the holiness of Christ's nature, the perfect obedience of His life, as well as His suffering of death; moreover, justification passed on Christ as the Head and Representative of His people, but not pardon; he may be said to be justified, but not pardoned: these two blessings make a considerable figure in the ministry of the word.” “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
The Righteousness which saves is the one God freely gives to those for whom Christ died. It is Christ’s Righteousness because it is the only perfect Righteousness so that God may remain Holy and Just in His saving those only deserving of Wrath and Judgement. God is the Justifier of His chosen, and He justifies by grace in accord with the Righteousness of Christ. Believe this and you will be saved. Strive to establish a righteousness of your own, trust in your own obedience, and you will be damned. It is Christ’s Righteousness which justifies a man, and so, there is nothing in man, of man or done by man of which a man can boast.
Making works essential to salvation is to disavow the need for grace and the Righteousness of Christ. To choose works over the grace and Righteousness of Christ, is to disavow any allegiance to their being sufficient and efficient in saving God’s people from their sins. Such people, “…have nothing to do with Him, nor He with them. ‘Whosoever of you are justified by the law’ (Gal. 5:4); that is, who sought to be justified by their own obedience to the law, or who thought they were, and trusted in themselves that they were righteous; for otherwise, by the deeds of the law, no flesh living can be justified: ye are fallen from grace; that is, either from that grace which they professed to have; for there might be some in these churches, as in others, who were only nominal Christians, and formal professors; who had declared they saw themselves lost and undone sinners, destitute of a righteousness, and professed to believe in Christ alone for righteousness and strength, but now trusted in themselves, and in the works of the law: or from the scheme of grace in the whole of man's salvation, which will admit of no mixture of works; either it is one or the other, it cannot be both; wherefore by their taking on the side of works, they showed that they had entirely dropped the scheme of grace: or else from the Gospel of the grace of God, from whence they were removed, through the influence of false teachers; particularly the doctrine of free justification by the grace of God, through the Righteousness of Christ; which was entirely set aside by their seeking to be instilled by the works of the law; and from this they might be said to be fallen.” To say that one must obey before one can be saved is to say that Christ’s obedience is not enough, that God-given faith in Christ’s Righteousness is not enough, that man must establish his own obedience, his own righteousness. For what other reason are one’s works said to be indispensable to one’s salvation if it is not teaching that a man must establish his own righteousness in order to be or remain saved, or complete what is allegedly lacking in Christ’s Righteousness. Salvation by works is salvation by your righteousness, and is, therefore a total rejection of Christ’s Righteousness. Christ established a perfect Righteousness for His people because they, by works—by anything they did—could not. The Saviour has come and successfully accomplished what He set out to do for His people. Only those who are not His people hold what He did in contempt by their seeking to establish a righteousness of their own.
Salvation by grace alone is salvation by Christ’s Righteousness alone. Salvation comes only by obedience: either Christ’s obedience or your own obedience. If you believe you must do before God can save you, you have no salvation and are as ignorant of the Righteousness of God as the Jews were, and still are. If you believe God has done everything for His people in order to save them and keep them saved, then you have been blessed by grace to believe in salvation only by the obedience of Christ, and not your own. Salvation by grace is by the obedience of Christ alone, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). The only righteousness which saves, is the Righteousness which does not include your works. The only Righteousness that saves is the Righteousness of Christ which is imputed to all His people by grace. This is precisely what the apostle Paul said was the reason he actually prayed for the salvation of Israel: they simply did not trust in the Righteousness of God, but only in their own miserably inadequate righteousness. To truly, savingly, trust in Christ and His Righteousness, in God and His grace, is to wholeheartedly and comprehensively abandon oneself, one’s works, one’s righteousness, and embrace only His Righteousness. By nature man is without hope, for the only righteousness he knows and trusts in is his own. By nature man is without hope, proving absolutely that a man’s righteousness cannot save him. A man’s obedience cannot save him. This should speak volumes to those who believe that salvation cannot do without their efforts at obedience. A man who stands with his own righteousness is a man without hope, without God and without Christ. The Jews whom Paul prayed for were never filled with the Holy Spirit of truth, for their faith and trust was never in the Righteousness of Christ for their salvation. They trusted not in God, but only in themselves. Scripture teaches to trust only in God, and not at all in oneself. If grace and works cannot be joined, then trusting in God and yourself can never get you saved. If you truly believe in grace, then you will not ever believe that your works are a necessary element in salvation. Likewise, if you trust the lie that salvation includes dependence upon what you do, then you have no right whatsoever to even utter the word ‘grace’.
Salvation based on what a man does violates the grace of God. It is a teaching which has nothing to do with the God of grace, but everything to do with the heart of lost man dead in sins, for its origin is sin. The teachings that a man must do before God can save him, and man has to do in order to remain saved, have nothing to do with God or His grace. The works of man disregard the grace of God, and, therefore, displace God from His rightful place in the salvation of a sinner. How ironic that the Righteousness every man seeks and strives for HAS ALREADY BEEN ACHIEVED! The Righteousness which saves could only have been achieved by Christ Jesus the Lord. The obedience which salvation requires has already been established and is given/imputed to all God’s chosen people by Christ Jesus the Lord through the only means it could be given: grace. There is no other way to gain the only Righteousness which is acceptable to God, than by the grace of Almighty God. To believe with God-given faith through grace in the Righteousness of God is the only way to salvation. To attempt to do in order to gain this Righteousness is to shun the fact that Christ Jesus the Lord HAS ALREADY DONE that which was required to establish it and impute it to all God’s chosen. Righteousness comes not by works, but by grace alone. Christ Jesus was the only one who could ever have achieved this Righteousness by which God saves His people from their sins. A man cannot be saved by doing, for he can only be saved by grace alone, based on Christ’s doing. A man cannot be saved by doing, but by being given. Grace gives the Righteousness required for salvation to all God’s chosen. Righteousness can come no other way but by a gift from God by grace. A man is saved by grace through faith in what the Saviour has done. A man’s natural faith is in himself; God-given faith is only in God. The saved man looks not to himself, but only to God for the Righteousness that makes him acceptable. The complete irony of one who believes himself to be Christian seeking to do to get saved or remain saved, is no different to the Jews who sought to establish their own righteousness.
GOD SAVES ONLY BY CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS NOT YOURS! Therefore, salvation is wholly by grace through faith in CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS, and not one’s own. The blindest of the blind are those lost souls who claim to be Christian and yet seek to establish a righteousness of their own. To their polluted minds, salvation itself depends upon their decision for Christ, their acceptance of Christ, their commitment to Christ, and, therefore, not on the Righteousness of Christ which comes only by God’s grace, and not according to man’s efforts. Salvation is not by a man’s works, but solely by Christ’s works, HIS obedience, HIS Righteousness, for HE is the Saviour. Salvation via a man’s works is tantamount to a dead man’s attempt to revive himself. Salvation via a man’s works can only confirm and hasten one’s journey to Hell. The saved man has been given faith to believe and trust exclusively in God and in His Righteousness alone. He has not been enabled by grace to perform works by which God will save him, for Christ has already established the only Righteousness that saves. Salvation does not depend on whether you choose God, for God has already chosen those He will save before the world began, and Christ Jesus has already obtained eternal redemption for all for whom He died. Absolutely EVERYTHING has been done in the salvation of a man by grace. The choosing has been done by God, the establishing of a perfect Righteousness has been done by God and the redemption of His chosen has been accomplished by the blood of the Lord Jesus. The only thing that remains is God giving His people the gift of faith to believe and trust these things were all done by His grace for them. Salvation is by grace alone. All those who have been ordained to eternal life will believe.
There are many fine sincere people out there who live upwardly moral lives, but who labor under the blasphemous misapprehension that they must obey to get saved and/or stay saved. I can only declare to them that according to the Word of God, they are nothing but accursed people. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3:10). If you conduct your life trying to maintain a level of obedience to any set of laws in order to get yourself saved, or maintain the salvation you believe you have, you are under a curse. Everyone is cursed, the Word of God says, who are not perfect in their obedience to His Law. The only ones who are free, the only ones who are blessed and not cursed, the only ones who are without condemnation are the ones who have been given the saving knowledge of salvation by grace through faith in the Righteousness of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Rom. 8:1). The only ones who are in Christ Jesus are those whom God has made new creatures (see Eph. 2:10). Salvation comes and remains only because of the Obedience of one man: Jesus Christ. Christ’s obedience to the law unto death, which is His Righteousness, is imputed by grace to all those whom the Father has given Him. Those who think what they are doing must be added to what Christ has done are still in their sins. They think with carnal minds, and not according to the Word of God.
Man’s works abolish God’s grace. Man’s inherent and insatiable need for reward abhors grace, for man’s carnal insistence on reward for obedience seeks to usurp grace with works as the very means to salvation. Man’s natural addiction to works as the remedy for sin is part of the curse he is under. Lost man’s thinking is, “I got myself into this mess, I can get myself out of it”. God's Word declares, 'Yes, you got yourself into this mess, but only God by grace can get you out of it'. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). These verses loudly declare you cannot be saved without grace. You cannot be saved by works. In other words, you have no hope without Almighty God. You are stuck in sin, and only God can get you out. Natural man’s universal gospel is, ‘It’s not what God does, but what a man does’, or, ‘It’s not only what God does, but also what a man must do’. Can you see how the works of a man are an utter enemy to, the very archnemesis of, the entire Message of the Gospel of salvation exclusively by the grace of God? Salvation is either by God, or by you. The moment you place any dependence for salvation upon what you do, you have removed God completely out of the picture. ‘If by God, then is it no more of man, otherwise God is no more God. But if it be of man, then is it no more God: otherwise man is no more man’ (see Rom. 11:6). The saved have by grace turned their backs on their own feeble attempts at obedience, for they know, believe and trust solely in the gloriously perfect obedience of Christ Jesus their Saviour. A saviour, a rescuer, saves and rescues by what he does, that is why he is called a saviour, or a rescuer. Salvation has never been a ‘reward for effort’ proposition, but always and only a gift given by grace. No matter all the spin about what a man does working hand in hand with grace, a man’s works always replace grace when it comes to the matter of how a man is saved, and how he remains saved (see Rom. 11:6).
A man clothed in his own works is a man who has clothed himself in filthy rags (see Isa. 64:6). A saved man is clothed by the Lord ONLY with the Robe of Righteousness, and greatly rejoices “…in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the Robe of Righteousness” (Isa. 61:10 cf. Isa. 61:3; Zech. 3:4). Here we see the inseparableness of Salvation and Righteousness and their One Source: God Almighty. God clothes His people. THAT is grace! The chosen of God are dressed exclusively by God with the Robe of the Righteousness of God. The Righteousness of God is, “…derived from Himself, and then with its natural consequence-salvation”. Works only turn a man’s attention upon himself and away from God. Works tangle a man up in focussing upon himself and what he does causing him to turn a blind eye away from God and what He has done. Salvation is either by grace or by works. At any given moment in time a man is either clothed with filthy rags, or with the Robe of Christ’s Righteousness. The terms, grace and works, are often juxtaposed in Scripture (see Rom. 3:20-24; 4:4; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8,9; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:4-7). Grace and works are mutually repulsive. Grace is attracted only to grace and works to works. Again, the reason why grace and works are immiscible, why they will not mix together, is because the force of attraction between the 'molecules', if you will, of grace, and between the 'molecules' of a man's works is greater than any force of attraction between the two elements. In other words grace sticks to itself and works stick to themselves, and the two can never become one. Interestingly, the language of science phrases it this way, “Substances which are immiscible do not form a solution”. Grace and works, as with oil and water which can never 'undergo mixing or blending', can never be, or form, a solution to man's dilemma. The concept of grace and works forms no solution to man’s crisis of sin, but reveals his ignorance of the fact that a man is saved by grace alone.
God justly receiving all the glory for salvation answers what is an impasse—"a situation in which no progress can be made, or no advancement is possible"—for those who have not been given eyes to see and who remain dead in their sins. A man’s believing does not prompt salvation, for saving faith is given, it comes by the grace of God according to the will of God by which a man is saved. Believing comes in the package marked SALVATION BY GRACE. “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus…That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:30,31 cf. 2 Cor. 1:21,22). All saved people glory exclusively in the Lord: all that He is and all that He has done. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son: In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:12-14). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). It is not a man’s works, his obedience, nor his righteousness, but God alone Who qualifies His people for Heaven. “…He hath made us accepted…” (Eph. 1:6). It is God alone Who makes His people “sufficient, renders competent, or worthy” for Heaven. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jer. 17:7). No man can be saved by what he does, for just as natural man cannot receive the things of God (see 1 Cor. 2:14), so too, none can please Him without the gift of saving faith (see Heb. 11:6). Only the saved please Him, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). This verse “…points out the spring, principle, and foundation of all good works; namely, the grace of God wrought in the heart, which is an internal work, and purely the work of God…” The works which have been prepared by grace for God’s elect to perform, are performed after they are saved, and not before, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). The good works spoken of here have been ordained by God for all those who are His workmanship whom He has created in Christ Jesus. Only the saved perform those works. These good works are the result, or fruit of salvation. Salvation is not the result, or fruit, of any man’s works. Salvation is of God, not man. Salvation is by what God has done, not because of anything man has done. The saved man is created in Christ Jesus to perform good works, not because he has performed good works. Everything comes from God, salvation is by grace. Nothing comes from man, salvation is not by works. Salvation cannot be earned, therefore, it must be gifted to man by the only one who can give it: God, and by the only means it can come as a gift: purely by grace. A man is drawn to God by God’s love for the man (see Jer. 31:3), and a man’s coming to the Lord is 100% attributable to God alone. No work of man’s is ever involved in the gaining or maintaining of his salvation.
Salvation is a gift given by God to a man which draws the man to God. This proves that God’s love toward a man comes as nothing but a gift given, and is in no way something earned, or deserved. Despite, the vain attempts at distorting John 6:65, seen in the New International Version’s ‘unless the Father has enabled them’—making salvation contingent on what a man does, or on a combination of God’s giving and man’s doing—the truth remains untouched: Jesus said, “…no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father”. The original Greek has it: “And He was saying Because of this have I said to you that no one is able to come to Me if not it shall have been granted to him from the Father”. Enabled them implies a work of man’s by grace must be done before one can come to the Saviour. The NIV and many other perversions of God’s Word merges grace with works, and promote a salvation by God and man. “…no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” “is the same, as to be drawn by the Father (see Jn. 6:44); for faith in Christ is the gift of God, and coming to Him, is owing to efficacious grace, and is not the produce of man's power and freewill”. Coming to the Saviour is not by any work of man’s, but solely by the Sovereign grace of Almighty God. Grace does not enable a man to come, it makes him come by making him alive. To attempt to employ the undeserved grace of God and merge it with a deserving work of man’s is to literally play with fire. “Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Prov. 30:6). Anytime a man adds to, or takes away from what the Lord has commanded, all a man is left with is what the Lord has NOT commanded (see Deut. 12:32). Those who add to or take away from the Word of God, as well as those who believe their lies will be found false witnesses of God and will receive the punishment due them (see 1 Cor. 15:15).
Grace does not leave anything up to man, for only by the act of grace, the gift of grace, the power of grace alone is a man saved. Grace does the whole work of salvation. Grace does not employ a man to make him alive from his spiritually dead state. Grace making a man alive IS salvation! Grace is no longer grace if salvation is by works, or if grace merely enables one to perform a work before salvation is made effective. Grace is no longer grace if salvation in any way hinges upon what a man does. Grace does not get a man to do its work. Grace does not by a man’s works. Man is not enabled by grace to attain salvation, but is given the gift of salvation because of Christ. Saving grace does not bring enablement, it brings salvation. Grace does not empower, it saves. Grace does not help, it makes alive. If grace only enabled a man, then more than just grace would be necessary before a man could be saved. If grace only enabled a man, then only a positive response by spiritually dead men to grace would be what makes the difference between saved and lost. One would simply have to do away with the verse, “by grace are ye saved through faith” and replace it with ‘by effort you are saved through works’. The Word of God states emphatically that it is by grace alone that a man is saved. The works of a man are not required in his salvation, for “…by grace are ye saved through faith…not…works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). Nowhere in Scripture does is it say that grace merely enables a man to perform that which will actually save him.